Have An Everlasting Summer In Five Songs
Iʼm the kind of gal who drowns herself in somber music during the winter months when I can feel the freezing temperatures from my toes to my nose, permeating through my body and mind. Nearly all of my ultimate favourite songs are depressing and sad but hauntingly beautiful and thatʼs what I love about them. Sad songs, however, donʼt fit every occasion, and at this time of year I want to surround myself with songs of love and happiness; the sun shines and the Vitamin D courses through my veins, and I need beatific, cheerful tunes. I want everything and everyone around me to be just as blissful and elated as I am.
With this in mind, here is a list of five of my favourite songs that pull me right back into the summer even when snow covers the ground and fills the air. These are my amaranthine songs of summer, with an unintentional leaning towards acoustic classic rock. Maybe old songs make me feel nostalgic for the summer and less complicated times? Sometimes I think I should have grown up in the 60s.
I present: five fantastically summery songs that will warm you up and fill you with joy all year.
California – Joni Mitchell
I grew up on the west coast of Canada and go to school across the country, miles away from the ocean and mountains. There are many moments when Iʼd love to go home, like Mitchell, but Iʼve also learned to appreciate my new environment as it seems MItchell has.
This songʼs use of acoustic guitar reminds me of outdoor music festivals where Iʼve had great summer times, while the rawness of Mitchellʼs voice is enchanting, but isnʼt reminiscent of festivals because Iʼve never heard another voice like hers.
“Then I’m going home to California
California, I’m coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California, I’m coming home.”
Going to California – Led Zeppelin
In my mind, this song is summer. It isnʼt particularly upbeat but itʼs hopeful, inspiring and wonderfully acoustic. Donʼt we all want to all escape to sunny California where we can live our dreams and wake up every morning with the radiant sun shining on our sleepy faces through big windows on a deck looking onto the perfectly blue Pacific Ocean? Heaven.
Apparently Robert Plant wrote this song for Joni Mitchell, who wrote another of my eternal summer songs, California. He told SPIN magazine that Mitchell is the girl who sings of, who has flowers in her hair, and is “a queen without a king.”
“Made up my mind to make a new start,
Going to California with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes
And flowers in her hair.”
Strawberry Swing – Coldplay
This song will make you smile. I fell in love with it when I saw Coldplay live in Vancouver in 2009. I had just graduated high school and the show represented a culmination of my long-lasting love for the band. I love the lightness of the opening of the song, how it grows and how itʼs elevated with beautifully simple lyrics of appreciation for a lovely person who can make any day perfect. When I listen to this song I imagine myself on a swing, flying above a green field full of small hills, with the softest of grass below. No shoes required.
“It’s such a perfect day
Now the sky could be blue I don’t mind
Without you it’s a waste of time
Could be blue, could be grey
Without you I’m just miles away.”
Wouldnʼt It Be Nice – the Beach Boys
This list wouldnʼt be complete without the oldie that is such a goodie. It draws me in with the sweet sound of harps? Guitar? Ukulele? Mandolin? Something else? (Seriously, I tried to find out and stumbled upon a heated debate on an audio forum.) This song fills me with joy, partly because it reminds me of a scene from Itʼs Complicated, that takes place at an adorable little wedding party. Two characters dance together and everything is magical. If youʼve seen it youʼll know what Iʼm talking about. Itʼs about wanting to make the moment last forever and hoping for the future, but realizing that the good times (and summer) have to end at some point.
“Happy times together weʼve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never-ending
Oh wouldnʼt it be nice?”
Everlasting Light – the Black Keys
I love the sentiment behind the title of the song, that love can last forever, shining brightly. I had the opportunity to see the Black Keys at Osheaga, a music festival in Montreal, and their performance of this song was amazing on visual and audial levels. People high above the crowd in a box held by a crane threw shimmering fireworks into the crowd. Instead of burning out as they fell to the ground, the light devices continued to twinkle in sync in a myriad colours as people in the crowd caught them in the air. It was beautiful. This incredible spectacle was designed by Montreal-based company Moment Factory. Of course, these songs are everlasting and reek of summer, so the everlasting light of love and the sun fits in wonderfully here.
“Let me be your everlasting light
Your train going away from pain
Love is the coal that makes this train roll
Let me be your everlasting light.”
What songs make you feel summery whatever the weather? Would you add any others to my playlist? Let me know in the comments!